Forgive me El Paso but you were all of the things I assumed you were not; liberal, colorful, and just a treat to explore. El Paso, Texas has quietly grown while its neighbor Ciudad Juarez has stolen most of the news headlines. These days things seem quieter on both sides of the border and El Paso is finding its footing as a haven for artists and entrepreneurs. I’m sharing some visitor tips for El Paso after a wonderful 48-hour visit.
Visitor Tips for El Paso-Where to Stay
Deciding where to stay was pretty easy, the downtown area is undergoing a facelift so we booked the Doubletree Hilton which is a block from the new ballpark. What I loved about downtown, was the art and the public spaces. San Jacinto Plaza has a gorgeous whale fountain and a horseshoe pit and seemed to be the center of activity in the area. While we were there a small food truck festival was going on and local musicians were on a stage in front of the fountain.
Visitor Tips for El Paso- What to Eat
Our first meal in El Paso was at Tabla for tapas. We headed in early and had the entire place to ourselves. Tucked near the ballpark in a historic brick building, Tabla is serving up Spanish tapas with a South West kick: lots of plays on the pecan. Favorites were the spicy Brussel sprouts, short rib dish, roasted cauliflower and apple fritters with pecan caramel drizzle.
We headed into the Historic District Military Heights to find Gussies, a local bakery known for tamales and pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread). This is a small serve-yourself bakery, with rows and rows of freshly baked pan dulce. I loved the conches (egg-shaped sugar bread) and the green chili and cheese tamales. Tamales and Menudo can be ordered at the register. There is only a small table in the place so be prepared to take your order to go.
Local favorites are Cattlemen’s Steakhouse a place I explored when I was 12 years old. Part restaurant, part farm it’s an amazing place to explore. It’s a bit of a drive and about 45 minutes outside of El Paso but it is worth the drive! Other local favorites include Anson 11 and L&J Cafe where you can find fresh local dishes and music.
TBL readers know that we take our coffee seriously so of course we tried out a few local coffee spots like The Coffee Box (tucked inside two shipping crates stack upon each other) and Hillside Coffee and Donut Co. Hillside was a cool respite out of the Texas heat with lots of fresh donuts and iced drinks.
Visitor Tips for El Paso-What to Do
Since we had a toddler with us, most of our activities centered around finding cool stuff for her to do. We hunted for murals, our favorite being the pretty floral painting outside of Jackrabbit Trading Co. Another favorite was the Greetings from El Paso mural at the Substation shopping center. We also found a great chalkboard mural at Time at Monticello, a shopping center made solely out of shipping containers.
Right before catching a flight home, we stopped at the Fauna Fountains for a frolic in the water and visited the Wyler Tram (which was closed for maintenance.)
We are so looking forward to returning to the El Paso area for its friendly people and delicious food.